Gonski Calls for Less Pressure on Youth to Attend Uni
24 September 2013 at 9:44 am
Business leader David Gonski has called for the community to recognise that university is not the only pathway for young people to achieve success and more attention must be placed on alternative pathways.
Gonski, who led the Gonski report into the funding of education in Australia, aired his thoughts in a speech at the recent YFoundations’ Investing In Youth Employment Conference in Sydney to a crowd of Not for Profit organisations, business leaders, government decision makers and education providers.
Gonski raised many issues that he felt needed to be addressed if youth unemployment was to improve. One idea was to redefine the idea of success within the community to recognise that university is not the only pathway for young people to achieve success and that greater appreciation be placed on alternative pathways.
In his speech Gonski said the current environment placed significant emphasis on attaining a university degree, and made university graduates more highly valued within society by employers.
“We need to look at where people are going and assist them to give them relevance in their training before they leave school,” he said.
Gonski discussed the necessity of building meaningful partnerships between the Government, community, and education sectors.
He suggested that improving employment opportunities for young people was not the sole responsibility of the government and that bi-directional relationships between communities and schools promote significant benefits for everyone involved.
In reference to the intergenerational disengagement of indigenous people within the employment and training space in Australia, Gonski suggested it was the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to change the dialogue around the importance of employment and education ensuring that its relevant to all groups.
Gonski also gave an account of his grandfather’s personal commitment to ensuring that his son and grandson received the education he was denied.
Gonski said he was incredibly appreciative of every opportunity he had been given and believed that all young Australians deserved to have the same opportunities to fulfill their dreams.
Gonski said “youth […] is our future, and their skills, wisdom and outlook have to be listened to, fostered and savoured”.
In Australia, 116,000 people aged 15-19 years olds are unemployed. Nationally, this is a rate of 11.6 per cent, which is double the current national unemployment rate. Regional youth are affected disproportionately, with youth unemployment at 30 per cent in certain areas.
The two-day Investing In Youth Employment Conference discussed solutions and strategies to increase the employment opportunities available to marginalised youth.